After Monty Python and Blackadder it is not really possible to present this type of opera in full cross-gartered fustian without an ironic angle; so much better in many ways, therefore, to take it out of time and re-present it in another period altogether, or in contemporary dress – as here – where in effect it becomes The Merry Chavs of Windsor. The result is one of the best vindications of the Grimeborn ethos in the current season and a wonderful refutation of the Coward quote at the head of this review.
This is a very great opera that can take many different interpretations. However, there is no room for compromise. Ultimately, it either has to be done straight and with absolute conviction that the themes with which it deals are as important to our culture now as they were to Verdi in the 1860s. Or if the traditional setting is thought to raise too many troubling questions or is beyond budget to realize then a fully thought-through alternative scenario is needed.
Diving into the 1901 Club just nearby Waterloo is not exactly like falling down a rabbit hole, but the press preview for the launch of a CD album ahead of the summer revival of Will Todd’s opera was certainly a startling escape from the harassed world of the commuters of SE1. While ‘another hundred people got onto their trains’, your reviewer exchanged pleasantries with a … Read more